Appendix B: Sample Contract

We had trouble finding a good sample contract for this task, so we thought we’d share the one we used. We are not lawyers, but we used this contract with no problems. We originally got this contract from Chris East at Futurismic, and made slight modifications.

[Publication title]

Publishing Agreement

This contract is made between [Your name] (hereafter known as “The Publisher”) and [Author’s name] (hereafter known as “The Author”).

In consideration of mutual promises and forbearances, the parties agree as follows:

Author’s Publishing Grant

1. The Author grants the Publisher First Online Rights to the publication of his or her short story entitled “[Story Title]” an original work of approximately [x,xxx] words, hereinafter referred to as “the Work,” on [Publication title], the Publisher’s website.

2. The Author further grants that the Work will remain published on [Publication title] indefinitely.

3. The Author further grants to the Publisher nonexclusive electronic rights to distribute the Work under a Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike 2.5” license.1

4. Under the terms of the Creative Commons license, the Publisher may publish a noncommercial print-on-demand volume incorporating the Work.

Other Rights

5. It is understood and agreed that all rights not expressly granted herein reside exclusively with the Author.


6. For the rights granted to the Publisher above, the Author will receive a payment in the sum of [amount], which will be paid within thirty (30) days of the Publisher’s receipt of this signed agreement.

Author’s Warranties and Indemnities

7. The Author warrants and represents that he or she is the sole author of the Work, that the Work is original, that no one has reserved the rights granted in this agreement, and that he or she has full power to enter into this agreement. The Author also represents, to the best of his or her knowledge, that the Work does not contain any libelous material, is not in violation of any rights of privacy or any other rights of third persons, and does not violate any existing common law or statutory copyrights. The Author agrees to hold the Publisher harmless against any judgment finally sustained that the Work contains libel, plagiarism and/or invasion of privacy, or that the rights granted in this contract have been previously reserved.

Changes in Text or Title

8. The Publisher will make no major alterations to the Work’s text or title without the Author’s written approval. The Publisher reserves the right to make corrections to spelling or grammar.

Reversion of Rights and Withdrawal of Offer to Publish

9. In the event that the work is not published within one (1) year of the signing of this agreement, all rights revert to the Author. The Author shall keep any payments made by the Publisher to him or her.

10. In the event that a copy of the counter-signed agreement is not returned to the Author within sixty (60) days of signing by the Author, or that payment is not made as specified, the Publisher’s offer to purchase the work shall be considered withdrawn.

Author’s Credit

11. The Author will be credited in the published material and in any descriptive or promotional materials as [Author’s Byline].


12. This agreement shall be deemed executed under the laws of the state of New York. New York state law shall be the applicable law of this agreement. The parties acknowledge that each part has read and understood this contract before execution.

In witness whereof the parties have executed this contract on this [xxxx] day of [xxxxx], 20[xx].


[Author’s address]


[Publisher’s address]

1 See for a license summary and full legal text.